Head of school Julie Sherrill and the Board of Trustees have decided that after 33 years it was time for a change. To much public response, St. Gregory College Preparatory School has been changed to The Gregory School.
The school has cited the main reason for the name change as trying to get rid of confusion over the religious affiliation of the school. However, the Board was hesitant to remove the Gregory aspect from the name.
Head of School Dr. Julie Sherrill said,“There was very positive name recognition in the community in association with excellence, so you don’t want to lose the whole name.” There have been long-standing concerns over the St. in St. Gregory scaring away potential students because they assume the school is religiously affiliated.
Sherill said, “There was significant confusion when people heard the saint they assumed that we were a parochial school, so that’s where I think the board met in the middle. Let’s hold on to the Gregory, but eliminate the confusion.”
The name change has elicited much opinion. Tom Danehy, columnist at the Tucson Weekly, wrote a scathing 900-word article criticizing the name change. Danehy had many colorful ways to describe the name change, comparing it to watching as your friend makes a huge fashion mistake and also to Coke changing their recipe.
Danehy states that the name change has been slow to catch on. If you were to spend a day at The Gregory School campus, it would be easy to understand Danehy’s point. On a regular basis you hear teachers, and students correcting themselves when they accidentally refer to the school as St. Gregory.
According to a poll sent out to the students by The Gregorian Chant, eight out of ten students do not approve of the name change. Without the support of the students, it is hard to envision the name change catching on.
“I go to St. Gregory. I entered high school at St. Gregory and three years from now, I’m going to graduate from St. Gregory.”
— An anonymous sophomore in Tucson Weekly
In Danehy’s article he quotes an anonymous student of The Gregory School. The sophomore said, “I go to St. Gregory. I entered high school at St. Gregory and three years from now, I’m going to graduate from St. Gregory.”
Opinions like that have prevented the name change from catching on in a positive manner. Without the support from the current student body, the name change will take much longer be a success.
I was recently at a gathering with parents of alumni, and the main problem suggested was all of the logistical problems of changing the name like having to change the scoreboards, basketball court, and school vans.
A few of these alumni parents are upset because they are the ones that originally paid to put the previously used logos on campus. As a gift to the school one of these parents spent thousands of dollars on branding for the school ranging from painting the school vans and putting up a scoreboard to painting the basketball court.
Now due to the name change all of these things have been undone, and they feel as though their money, time, and legacy have been ruined.
As a result of the lack of support from students, parents, and members of the Tucson community like Danehy, The Gregory School will struggle to overcome the original name St. Gregory.
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